That Awkward Moment When Prince William Says He’s Backing England at the World Cup – Or Is He?
As you’ve probably heard by now: Prince William, Prince Harry, and Prince George are coming to Brazil for the FIFA World Cup.
I get the impression that many of those who follow world football are still trying to digest what this means and where they might be best served by this decision. Some, predictably, may come right out and say: “Well, that’s not exactly the problem with the World Cup.” Or they might say: “Well, you’ve lost the entire population of Africa who’ve ever watched one of these things.”
To many, it’s an inconvenient truth that the World Cup is a massive global stage for countries’ political and sport interests that might otherwise get neglected, or worse. The World Cup gives the world’s best soccer players a platform to shine, and at the same time creates new platforms for political messages and advertising dollars to make a dollar’s worth of difference in the world’s poorest nations. It’s a tremendous opportunity for both nations and a few very large media companies. So what the hell’s the matter with Prince William, and the other two, why are they coming? What does all this have to do with the World Cup?
I think the issue is deeper than this. What will happening to the very idea of the World Cup and the international game, both in terms of how they shape the global game and how they might be affected by these new circumstances, and in terms of the people involved?
The World Cup had always been an inherently political event, and that’s a great part of what its appeal is. It’s a chance for countries – especially the countries with the greatest soccer potential – to flex their muscles as well as show other parts of the world that the games are their own.